Thursday, October 12, 2017

Tula "Graces" the Office

Back at the office, the door opened and in walked Tula. Della looked up. "I understand . . ." Tula stopped talking when Vivian walked into the office. Tula quickly offered her hand to Vivian. "I don't think I've met you, I'm Grace."

Tula gave Della a quick 'Don't you dare say anything' look.

Vivian introduced herself to Tula explaining she was new to town and was working at the rental company handling their accounting.

"Are you married?"

"No, I have my hands full. It's been a while since I had time for romance."

"With a career?"

"No, mam, raising 3 children."

Tula raised an eye.

"Oh, they are not mine, at least by birth. My cousin James and his wife were killed in an auto mobile accident and I felt the children needed to stay in the family. So I took them in. I could relate to their loss since my parents were also killed in an automobile accident when I was just a baby." Vivian paused, "I didn't mean to go on like that.  I love them, they keep me on my toes."

Tula just smiled.

Vivian continued,"But I do have family in town. I'm supposed to be distantly related to the 'Wells' family."

Della, deciding to add fuel to the fire,"Vivian, I meant to ask you, have you had a chance to look up any of your family?"

Vivian turned and looked at Della, "No, not yet. But I really would like to meet some of them. Since my parents died, I felt like moving to Gallagher would give me some roots." Vivian smiled at Tula. "I can remember my aunt talking about the old family home called 'Ivy Lane'. I hope to be able to find it. Even if only the land exists, I'd still love to see it."

Tula looked at her watch,"Oh dear, I haven't been paying attention to the time. I must go. It was nice meeting you Vivian."

Vivian smiled, "Same here."

Tula told Vivian it was nice to meet her.  She was sure she would see Vivian around. She spoke to Della and walked out.

Vivian watched her walk out. "She seems very nice."

 "She is," Della said and quietly finished the reply in her mind - 'a witch" as she went back to work.

A few minutes later 'Miss" Ella came in. "I am so excited." She said almost in a tither. "I just heard that Terse was coming back. Please let me know when he gets back into town. I miss him so much."

Della introduced Vivian to 'Miss' Ella.

"Welcome to Gallagher dear, I think you'll like it here."

Della agreed and said Vivian was making life at the rental company so much better now that someone was handling the accounting end of things.

"Well, I have a jar of jam for Larry," 'Miss' Ella said as she pulled a medium size jar from her purse and put it on Della's desk. "Can you make sure he gets it."

"I promise" said Della as she took the jar and put it on the credenza behind her desk.

"I have another one for Buzz but I will take it to him at the store." She smiled, "Also, what in the world is going on at the Eldridges?"

"Well, it seems Colonel Walker thinks General Kirby is buried in their yard."

"Their yard? I thought someone told me it was supposedly buried at Ivy Lane?"

Della took a breath, "They dug up the front lawn there but did not find anything."

"Oh, I bet poor Bunny was upset about that."

"Well, it was all restored to its former beauty in a couple days."

"So now they think the General is in Flora and Cora's yard? Personally, I would not be surprised  at anything they would find in that yard. Those women are a little, how do I politely say it? Odd."

Della laughed, "That's an understatement. Whatever. We'll see soon because I think the plan is to finish the job today." 

Miss Ella's eyes brightened, "Well I might just have to ride down Magnolia on my way home. It really is a shorter way home for me anyway." She turned to Vivian,"It was nice meeting you."

As she walked out, she turned to Della, "Now don't forget to give Larry his jam."

Della promised she would not forget. 'Miss' Ella walked out.

Vivian looked at Della, "She seems so nice. And to bring jam to Larry."

"She is pretty special," replied Della.

Then Vivian asked, "What does Bunny have to do with Ivy Lane?"

Della hesitated, "She lives there."

"Really", Vivian said very excited. "Is she a 'Wells'?"

Della was very relieved that Vivian's inquiry  was interupted when the door opened and Terse walked in. "Hey ladies." He gave Della a big hug and looked at Vivian.

"And, who do we have here?"

"This is Vivian Vontese. She is handling our office accounting now." She turned to Vivian, "Vivian this is Terse."

Terse offered his hand to Vivian, "Terse Jackson, nice to meet you."

Vivian shook his hand,"Same here."

"Well Della, what have I missed?"

"Well, let's see." said Della."The museum has a new director. He and his wife both dress in antebellum period costume- every day."

"That sounds interesting."

Della continued,"They are digging up the Eldridge twins front yard as we speak. Colonel Walker is convinced a General Kirby is buried there." 

"Ah, General Kirby, the famed Confederate spy who had an untimely death." Terse paused, "Buried in the Eldridges' yard?"

"And, for some reason," Della continued, giving Terse a knowing look, "we have been bombarded by your fans."

Terse laughed, "I can explain that."

Della said, "This should be interesting."

"When I had to give the publishers a street address, I knew better than to give them mine. So I gave them the rental company's address."

"Really?" said Della sarcastically.

"Well it wasn't really a lie, because I do not own my place . . ."

Della laughed, "Well it has made things interesting around here."

"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate it."

Vivian spoke up,"I'm sorry, what am I missing here?"

Della laughed,"For weeks Terse's fans just piled into here, thinking he lived here - at this street address." She looked at Vivian and smiled, "Terse is our home town celebrity. He's on the New York Times best seller list."

Vivian laughed, "I read the  best seller list, and I don't think I would miss a name like 'Terse'."

Della looked at Terse, then at Vivian, "How about Reginald Beauregard Jackson III?"

"No." Then it hit Vivian,"Reginald Jackson! You wrote 'The Corporal's Secret'." She said amazed. "But where does the name 'Terse' come from?

"It is from 'Tertius', a Latin word meaning 'third', as in Reginald Beauregard Jackson the third."

He smiled at Vivian then he turned to Della, "Where's Bunny?"

"Why? Terse, you have spent most of your time trying to avoid her and now she's first person you want to see?"

"Well, let's just say, I've need to pay some debts and ask for forgiveness." 

"She is at the Elderidge's, but I expect her back at any time."

Terse's phone rang. After saying a few words, he put it back in his pocket. "Well, I've got to run. Tell Bunny I'm looking for her. I'll give her a call."

He looked at Vivian,"It was nice meeting you."

After the door closed behind him, Vivian said,"Y'all weren't kidding when you said he was good looking."

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